Wien, pronounced is the federal capital and largest city of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.8 million (2.6 million within the metropolitan area, nearly one third of Austria’s population).
Vienna is full of history and there is a lot to see! I hope you brought good shoes: be ready to walk a lot. Almost all the buildings are full of charm in this wonderful city!
72 hours in Vienna
Day 1: First impression of the city
Welcome to Vienna! Start your day on the north-west part of the center of Vienna at the Gartenpalais Liechtenstein. Not many tourists know about it so you will be able to start your day away from the crowd enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the park surrounding the Palace.
Then make your way to the café Landtmann for breakfast/brunch, and take advantage of this walk to have a look at the real Viennese life before coming to the most touristy area.
On the way you will be able to admire the Votivkirche church and also take a look inside the University of Vienna.
You are now at the well-known Café Landtmann. Stop there for savory food with impeccable service. This is a good occasion to try a real Vienna coffee/chocolate.
After you enjoyed your first meal of the day, get out of the café and you will have in front of you two point of interest to check out: the Burgtheater and the city hall.
Then make your way down to see the Austrian Parliament, Volksgarten park, and Heldenplatz square in front of the wing of the Hofburg Palace.
I know you might want to take a look at the whole palace, but wait! This is for tomorrow! Go around the wing and take some time in the Burggarten and also look for the statue of Mozart.
Then cross the road to get to Maria-Theresien-Platz.
You will have on both side two incredible buildings. Those are the museum of Natural History and the museum of Art History. If you feel like it you can take a look inside, but it’s not a must-see in this city where there is already a lot to explore.
Cross the road again to go into the Museums Quarter.
There are some cafés here or if you want to relax and enjoy ice-cream/snack on their weird shaped benches, you can find cheap food for lunch in many wurst stands just outside the metro station everywhere in the city.
It doesn’t sound appealing like that, but street food in Vienna is actually delicious!!
Once your feet are ready to walk again get out of the quarter and walk through the Rahlstiege, but admire the historical Gansemadchenbrunnen (Goose Girl Fountain).
Make your way to Resselpark. On the way you will be able to admire the Secession, a contemporary-art museum with an elegant design. Now that you are at Resselpark you just have to look for one thing: Karlskirche, one of the most beautiful churches of the city!
Spend the night at the Prater: the big amusement park.
To get there you can take the U1 (Red) or U2 (Purple) metro lines and stop at “Praterstern”. Take a ride on the big Ferris wheel (10€*) and get a look at the city from the sky. The ride is about 20 minutes long, so you will have time to take a lot of pictures.
There are many dinner options inside the park, but I would advise to eat at Schweizerhaus just for the pleasure to see the waiters carrying like 30 jugs of beers at once! This German/Austrian restaurant is perfect for beer and meat lovers.
As for food, I would recommend to get the Stelze (pork knuckle), but if you want to try something else they have menus in many languages.
Day 2: Inside the buildings
Start your second day at Michaelerplatz, and once you admire the square make your way through the gates of the Hofburg Imperial Palace.
You should start your day with a show of the morning exercise of the Lipizzan horses and their riders at the Spanish Riding School, as the show runs only at 10am (Tuesday to Friday).
The show lasts for 2 hours and it cannot be booked in advance, so get there a little early to make sure to see something. (15€*)
After the show, you might be a little bit hungry. Inside the courtyard of the palace you can find Café Hofburg which serves a similar selection of food as Café Landtmann, so perfect again for break/lunch.
Once your tummy is full, it’s time to go again for the most exciting part for most visitors. What would be Austria without Sisi?
You’ve waited long enough yesterday, it’s finally time to visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace. With one ticket you’ll get a look inside the Imperial Apartments, visit the Sisi Museum and admire the Imperial Silver Collection (13.90€*)
After your visit of this enriching place, there are two places to visit next to the palace: the Austrian National Library, where you need to admire the incredible State Hall (8€*), and the church “Katholische Augustinerkirche” (the entry is very small so make sure you don’t miss it)
If your feet can still walk a bit, then you can visit the Albertina Museum (14,00€*), which has the largest and most valuable graphical collections in the world.
Time for snack?
You cannot go to Vienna without trying the delicious Sachertorte.
You can try it at many restaurants, but if you want to try the original recipe from 1832, you need to go to the Café Sacher.
There is very often a long queue to get in, so try go there before or in between peak hours. It’s also quite expensive there, so if you just want to try it and you don’t care if it’s the original one or not, most cafés in Vienna have it.
On your way to the café or after, don’t forget to take a look at the gorgeous State Opera House.
You are now in the pedestrian part of the city so you can take your time, walk anywhere and get a bit lost in the different streets. In this part of the city you have to go take a look at St. Stephen’s Cathedral (5.5€*), walk through the Graben and take a look at St. Peter’s Catholic Church also.
For dinner, if you can go to Gasthaus Pöschl (make reservation or go early!) to eat the traditional wiener schnitzel, this big fried veal steak. Delicious!!
You might even be able to eat outside, on the terrace facing another one of the many churches of the city. You can also find on this square the famous Kleines Café. If Gasthaus Pöschl is full, a lot of others would serve the same dish don’t worry.
Day 3: Schönbrunn and Hundertwasser
You can start your third and last day at the Naschmarkt. It’s considered like one of the best flea markets in all of Europe. You will be able to get very cool and original souvenirs and you will also have many options for breakfast here.
Then it’s time to go to the most famous place of Vienna: the outstanding Schönbrunn Palace.
You will need to take transportation to go there (metro U4 – Schönbrunn or Hop-on Hop-off bus). This place is huge and there is a lot to see, so you will need at least a half day, if not a day to visit it.
If you don’t want to rush, the most important things are the inside of the Palace (17.5€*) and the Gloriette, which will give you an incredible view over the Palace and the city. Book a guided tour here.
You can walk around the palace, but there is also a train going around the whole park, stopping at each place and your feet will thank you (8€*). For food and drinks, you can find several cafés around the palace (near the palace, in the forest, at the Gloriette,…)
On your way back from Schönbrunn, stop at the top of the Belvedere Palace.
After visiting Schönbrunn, I don’t think visiting the inside is necessary, but if your feet are still alive then why not? (22€*). There is also a small café here if you need a snack. Then make your way down to the Hochstrahlbrunnen fountain.
You probably have seen it hundreds of times in picture, so it’s now time to see the Hundertwasser House for real!
If your feet are still alive you can decide to walk there from the Belvedere, which will take about 30 minutes. On the way you will be able to admire the Russian Orthodox Church, an unknown treasure of Vienna.
If your feet can’t take no more, then just hop on a bus or the metro (U3 or U4 lines) to Landstrasse / Wien-Mitte stations.
Just next to the house there is the Hundertwasser Village, which has been constructed with the same design as the house and combines cafes and souvenir shops. 500 meters away you also have the Kunst Haus Wien, the Hundertwasser museum.
For your last night in Vienna, head to the Danube Tower for incredible view over the city on last time.
Take the U1 metro line to the station VIC/Kaisermühlen, go through UNO-City and the DonauPark. Signs will guide you from the metro to reach the Danube Tower (14,90€*).
With its 352 meters, it is the tallest structure in Austria, and you can enjoy an incredible view over the city until midnight! There is a restaurant at the top of the tower which rotates during your meal! How cool is that?!
Most attractions are in the center of the city so you can walk to most places, except the Schönbrunn Palace and the Danube tower. Depending on where you are and how fit you are I would also advise to consider taking transport to the Prater and Hundertwasser House.
Vienna has also a great public transportation system.
But be careful! Although there are no ticket barriers at the metro entrance, there are frequent checks by undercover transport officers. So even if it’s tempting to just go through the gate for free, don’t. Make sure to buy and validate your ticket!
I’ve done the experience for you: the agents have heard all the excuses… And if you say you have no IDs or money to pay the fine, they will take you to the nearest police station. So just pay your 2,40€ one-way ticket (or 8€ for a day-ticket), instead of your 105€ fine.
Another option is to rent a city bike as the bicing system is so great in Vienna! First hour is free and then 4€ per hour. Vienna is made for cycling, there are bikes lines everywhere, everyone is on a bike here so it’s very safe!
Coming from the airport:
- Cheapest: regular train to Wien Mitte station: 4.10€ (includes travel on entire Vienna public transport network) – 30 minutes
- Fastest: City Airport Train to Wien Mitte: 12€ one way, 21€ return – 15 minutes
*ALL attractions starred in the article are free with the Vienna Pass. If you plan on visiting as much as possible then this pass if a very good deal: you will save money and time (no queue with the pass!). With this pass you also have unlimited access to the Vienna Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off.
Price: 1 day adult: €59.00, child: €29.50 / 2 days adult: €89.00, child: €44.50 You can buy it online or near the Opera State House.
If you are more a relaxed traveler who would like to see only one or two things, then it may not pay off to purchase it. Look at the prices of the places you want to visit + transportation and see if it would be a good deal for you.
Vienna, like every city, has a whole lot to offer. If it is culture, food or simply just the mentality of the people and the aura of its places.
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